The world is a sharp and dangerous place filled with no shortage of truly awful things to tear our guts out and make us cry forever. We know what they are: War, illness, puppy rape and Brett Ratner movies. But there are also all sorts of tiny, less obvious things that -- for no good reason -- can fill us with a sadness so pervasive we're forced to look away. Or at least there are for me. Not enough to make me cry. Just a vaguely disconcerting emptiness that emerges more and more unless I fill it up with happiness or alcohol. Here are five of my big triggers to melancholy. Do you have different ones? Express them in an interpretive dance, upload to YouTube and send me the link!

People Trying To Be Funny In Magazine Photos

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

The other day I was heading to work and I saw a newsstand fronting some magazine's "comedy issue." I honestly don't know what mag it was or who was on the cover because I walked away to avoid seeing someone I respected wearing Groucho Marx glasses, holding a rubber chicken or doing something else equally awful. Staged photographs of comics are always a letdown because most celebs didn't get where they are today by being funny in still pictures. In fact, not only is it nearly impossible to be funny in a staged photo, it's also pretty hard to avoid looking like a giant douche. Even three of the most hilarious human beings to ever set foot online have failed.

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Don't worry. We all feel a deep sense of shame about this.

And it's not just the Cracked comedic brain trust that can fail. Look at these pics below, and keep in mind that every single one of these people is talented. That's why these ham-fisted attempts at humor make me so very sad. It's like even talented artists are saying, "All right, fuck it. I'll sit on a whoopee cushion for a
GQ shoot. My manager said it's good press."

Entertainment Weekly

Wait. She's dressed like the Queen, but she's not the Queen ... oh, I get it!

"Is that sadder than seeing pics of war crimes or watching
Tower Heist?" some of you ask. No, not as sad. (You skipped the part in the introduction where I already explained that, didn't you? You also make me sad.)


OMG, pocket watermelon and giant foam hands? Now, I've seen everything!

Old People in Fast Food Restaurants

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

As you may have heard, a prerequisite to working for Cracked is the completion of an intense physical strength regimen not unlike the one for Navy Seals. (Why else would a grown man like Seanbaby waste so much time with mixed martial arts?) As such, I rarely frequent fast food establishments unless I'm making McNuggets runs for DOB. (As Cracked's senior writer, he's exempt from the requirements and consequently has no abs.) In any event, the point is, I don't go to fast food places too often, but when I do, and I see old people there, I get a little sad.I'm not sure why. I mean, when I'm 70 and retire from Cracked after having sold the movie rights to my column
5 Hidden References to Deviant Sexual Practices in Family Matters, I might treat myself to a McNugget or two (if DOB hasn't eaten them all). So what's the big deal? I don't know, but when I see old people in McDonald's, I instantly invent tragic back stories, usually involving younger versions of these senior citizens who were forced to chow on burgers in their 20s and 30s while still believing that some day they would be in a better place. Some day that ship would come in, and only the finest foods would pass their lips.

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

"Can you believe we used to eat that crap before we made all that money in white slavery? Bwahahahahaha!"

So I guess somewhere in my head I believe an old person eating a Big Mac is what it looks like when dreams die.

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

"Why do you hate me, God?"

The Less Intelligent Members of the Gay Community

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

By the time I was in my teens, most of my stereotypical assumptions about the gay community had been shattered by reality. I learned fairly quickly that not all gay men have a good fashion sense. Not all lesbians work at Home Depot. Gays aren't all bleeding heart liberals or disco fans. Some gay men are macho sports nuts. Some gay women are girly-girl fashion mavens. I get it. We all get it, and if we don't, then there are enough members of the gay community to point it out and make sure we do.But more recently it occurred to me there was another assumption I'd been making about gay people that never seemed to get corrected. Specifically, that all gays are smart. Uniformly. As if that were even possible. Not sure why I jumped to this conclusion. Maybe it's because when I think of homophobes, I think of small-minded neurologically impaired, thick-necked dbags whose limited IQs make them fear and hate anything outside of their immediate experience. So (in my own neurologically-impaired way) I assumed that the opposite of a homophobe must be more enlightened and intelligent.

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

"I just solved Fermat's last theorem while waxing. Isn't that hilarious?"

But of course that's absurd. Heterosexuals don't have a monopoly on stupidity and there are plenty of LGBT folks who are every bit as functionally retarded as the straight people who ruin life for the rest of us. But the thing is, despite there being nothing unusual about a full intelligence spectrum in the gay community, dim-witted gays still make me incredibly sad. Maybe it's because it's hard enough to struggle for equality without spending all day struggling to figure out the 20 percent tip on your quiche or brie or whatever gay people eat. Or maybe it's because I've seen some big, dumb, gay-bashers in my day and I'd like to think all gays had an intellectual advantage over such adversaries. But no. Stupid has no single sexual orientation.*By the way, spoiler alert to any gay commenters who call me homophobic for this entry. Read all the words. It's not homophobic. Your comment makes me sad.

Guys Who Think Female Bartenders Actually Like Them

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

Seems like a majority of drinking establishments I frequent these days have young women behind the bar. They also tend to be dressed somewhat provocatively. No surprises there. Bars are filled with men, many of whom enjoy their drinks mixed with a healthy amount of eye-raping opportunities. Most female bartenders seem pretty OK with that if it means more tips. And some are super-OK with it because they engage these male customers with semi-flirtatious banter. Y'know, some "what can I getcha, honey" this and "here ya go, darlin'" that. And, of course, the laughter. Anything some aging, useless putz on a stool has to say about anything gets a big, flirty laugh. Just part of the game. No one gets hurt (except maybe the world-weary stereotypically Irish male bartender who can't get a friggin' gig in this T&A-based business model.)

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

Seamus McMurphy: hails from Limerick, knows how to make 50 plus drinks and hasn't worked in five years.

But what kills me is watching bartenders flirt up patrons who fall for it. Guys who think, "Hey this chick really likes me. She laughs at my jokes and doesn't charge me for every fourth round." Yeah, some guys are just happy for the attention and looking for something to slip into the spank bank, but you can tell the guys who think more's going on. They try to buy these barmaids shots and get mad when they see her laughing at other patrons' jokes. (Usually, mine. Sorry, fellas, it's tough love. You were bound to find out sooner or later, and, trust me, she's not sleeping with me either.) And then there's the tell-tale sign: They overtip like motherfuckers. (You'd be surprised how well people who bang moms tip.)


"See anything you like? I could be talking about booze or sex! LULZ!!!"

Passive Aggressive Social Media Statuses

twitter Search Home Profile Messages Who To Follow Gladstone About @WGladstone @WGladstone 3.201 184 6.590 258 Columnist for, Author of No

This one really breaks my heart: people leaving social media statuses designed merely to give certain people shit without naming names or being specific. Statuses left by friends excluded from plans, or in the middle of a fight. Half-hearted vitriol spewed by spurned lovers. Facebook and
Twitter are the best vehicles for passive aggression since the silent treatment or closing drawers too loudly. It's a very tempting thing to do, and I'm sure I've done it myself even though I'm usually like super good at telling people to go to hell directly. But that's me: A debater, a hasher-outer, an insufferable pain in the ass. I'm always more afraid spaces will grow between me and friends -- not from critical words -- but from things left unsaid. Those awkward, unspoken resentments that sit invisibly between you and everyone you care about. For the record, I'm in the minority on that one. Most people prefer a good silent swallowing of concern. But something that everyone can probably agree on is the need to address those feelings for real or just shut up. Bringing it up halfway online where written words count even less than speech helps no one. Specifically, I'm talking about statuses like:- Aww, it's OK. I didn't want to go to that party anyway.- At times like these I value all the really good friends I have who would never dream of letting sincere differences of opinion get in the way of friendship.- Don't be surprised you got burnt little boy. I'm a tigress.- You give some people love, but what do you get? A slap in the face.- Apparently some friends don't value honesty.- I can't believe how many ignorant people there are in the world. Get informed, then talk.Why is this so sad? It's not because these people are in pain or even because they can't seem to speak directly to whomever has made them feel that way. It's that for a moment they take pride in this act of assertion, believing they have accomplished something. And all they've done is show off their wounds to a group of e-friends, while simultaneously pretending they're too cool to really be in pain, or that the people they're addressing aren't even worthy of being identified. But of course you are (usually), and of course they are (usually). That's why you go back to being friends with or dating them again. And then you have to do that chilly thing where you delete the status and pretend it never happened.

5 Things That Are Much Sadder Than They Ought To Be

"Oh, hey. How did that status get there? Silly Facebook-whiny-emo-virus!"

Quick rule of thumb: When someone you care about makes you sad and you feel like writing a status? Don't. All you're doing is spreading the sad. Pick up the phone. Sort your stuff. Then leave a status about how you thought your friend Chuck was a prick, but you've got it all worked out now.Subscribe to the all-new HATE BY NUMBERS. Also follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up to date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website too.

For more from Gladstone, check out 5 Sleazy Strategies for Turning Any Movie Date into Sex and 8 Ways Suburban Apathy Got Me Through Irene: A Hero's Story.

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